Transfer of Power is the fourth and final collection of volume one of The Authority, the book that arguably changed the superhero genre forever. Not content with merely stopping supervillains from robbing banks, the six members of the Authority (Jack Hawksmoor, the Engineer, the Doctor, Swift, Apollo and the Midnighter) use their remarkable powers in a proactive rather than reactive way. They're out to change the world, and they don't care who gets in their way.
Unfortunately for the Authority, this attitude doesn't endear them to most world leaders, who fear the implications of a few powerful individuals threatening the status quo. So, the seven richest countries dispatch Seth, the "genetically modified hillbilly" with more than 1,000 super powers, to dispose of the Authority. Once the original Authority are out of the way, a brand new Authority are installed by the establishment--the Colonel, Rush, the Machine, Street, the Professor, Teuton and Last Call. As the new Authority get used to their new-found glory as the world's greatest superheroes, only one question remains: where is the Midnighter?
When half of the stories collected in Transfer of Power were originally produced, the Authority had become as controversial in the real world as they were in their fictional world. Apollo and the Midnighter are rather thinly-veiled archetypes of Superman and Batman, with one fundamental difference: they're also a gay couple. DC Comics, publishers of The Authority (under its Wildstorm imprint), bristled at some of the more overt artwork and dialogue, and while the mess was being sorted out, a temporary team of Tom Peyer (writer) and Dustin Nguyen (artist) were brought in for the four-part "Transfer of Power" story line. Though they do an admirable job, it appears rushed and its flippant tone jars with the rest of the book. As expected, it is writer Mark Millar's story line ("Brave New World")--which bookends Transfer of Power--that does real justice to the characters and team he was instrumental in defining. His story, and the detail-rich artwork of Frank Quitely and Arthur Adams in particular, provide a fitting finale to the superteam and book that, in Millar's own words (as spoken by Jack Hawksmoor), "completely changed the landscape". --Robert Burrow